The following are good budgeting 101 resources. This is a follow-up to the article on personal budgeting. Since there is no one way to budget I wanted to share some of those resources with you to see if you find them helpful.
Remember, the hardest part of budgeting is getting started. Once you find a method that works for you keeping it updated is much easier. I know I am going to throw a lot of information for you here but the purpose is for you to develop your system – the one that works for you.
Budgeting 101 Information
If you are looking for basic definitions and components of a budgeting system then take a look at Wikipedia
and Investopedia for some basics. For tips on how to allocate your spending the Fool and Money
have pretty straightforward articles on how to get started.
Money also features a very popular approach to budgeting called The 60% Solution . I personally find this recommendation too generic for my actual circumstances but it’s up to you to see if it’s helpful.
Another popular budgeting system is the envelope system
. I like this because of it’s simplicity and ease of use. A slight variation on it is the JARS system.
Budgeting 101 – The Blogs
There are no lack of blogs out there with “budgeting 101” type of advice. But they are a good way for you to see how other people handle their own budgets. Just like I posted in my budgeting example
you can see how others have budgeted
, what their monthly expenses
are like and even how to budget in ten minutes .
If you are looking for a women's oriented site for help with household budgeting this site has plenty of information.
Budgeting 101 Calculators
I think online calculators are mostly “gee-whiz” kind of stuff because most of these calculations can be done pretty easily at home. But if you insist I found a good budget calculator
and a variety of calculators at the Fool.
Budgeting 101 Spreadsheets
The number of personal finance websites and blogs is only surpassed by the number of spreadsheets available out there .
After doing plenty of research on what is available I am very glad that I use the one I showed you in my personal budgeting article . It is much simpler and straightforward than many out there and accomplishes the same purpose. If you want a copy of it I will gladly send you one, just shoot me an email.
However, if you want to explore other options here are some of the better ones I found. I found this one
to be very simple and straightforward and it even comes with the video ( part 1 , part 2)
to explain it to you.
Spreadsheets are great because they are very customizable. You can start with one of these free templates
available from Microsoft and then customize it to your needs or level of Excel proficiency.
If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty details of your budgeting then this one is very detailed and is also available in Google docs
format. Another very detailed format can be found here and it is not for the color shy!
The Pear Budget is very popular and has high praise from many. But I absolutely do not like it. It looks very pretty but it does not allow the simple level of customization I would like in order to enter the expense categories that are appropriate for me.
Finally, if none of the above are for you then you can find more spreadsheets here than you will ever know what to do with.
Budgeting 101 – Online Budgeting and Budget Software
Money and Quicken have been the most popular budget software since forever. Recently Microsoft discontinued Money so that leaves you with Quicken as your only choice if what you are looking for is a program to keep track of all your finances, not just budgeting.
Recently a variety of money management websites have been popping up that allow you to track your finances online. The most popular are Mint, Geezeo, Wesabe, Mvelopes and Yodlee MoneyCenter. I have not tried any of these so I cannot say yay or nay but any website that has my personal financial information or access to my bank accounts makes me feel a bit uneasy. But that’s just me.
Budgeting 101 – Recommended Reading
As part of my library on money management and personal finance I can recommend the following titles. You will also find many good reviews online for them. First, is the Total Money Makeover
which is a great system not just on budgeting but also a great resource in money and debt management. An accompanying title is Financial Peace
which goes into the emotional aspect of money management and debt but does not give you the systematic approach you find in the Total Money Makeover.
A book I absolutely adore is Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
because of how true I have found his principles to be. Although the book is not about budgeting it presents a very useful budgeting plan that includes an “education” account which is
basically money you set aside specifically to invest in yourself.
Suze Orman 2009 plan is very relevant and easy to read. It was available as a free download for a while and I have a copy that I can email you if you want, just contact me
and I’ll gladly share.